Market Smarter, Not Harder
by Scott Carpenter | November 27, 2019
When it comes to marketing, oftentimes business owners tend put the cart before the horse and focus on the wrong things.
They will jump into tactics like spending a lot of money on advertising and sending a bunch of messages out to see if anything will stick. And then get frustrated that nothing worked and sometimes stop marketing altogether.
They get so caught up in the minutiae of wanting to sell quickly that they sometimes forget what the goal of marketing is all about – knowing the customer’s need so well that the product sells itself. That’s the major issue. Business owners often do not do the proper research to find out who the customers are and what their needs may be. Without this intel, they are unable to do effective marketing.
In the grand scheme of things, depending on your business, you could be one of several for a potential customer to choose from. A pen is a pen. A cup of coffee is a cup of coffee. When a client decides to choose a product or service, they are looking for a company that will appeal to their needs and solve their problem. Business owners must aim for a higher standard. Rather than offering a product, provide an emotional solution that elevates their personal life or business success.
You must research what influences them most. There are a lot of people – and customers – who love to talk about themselves. Conduct surveys and find what need they have, how this need impacts their life, what influences them buy and how they consume media. This will allow you to segment your consumer base and find the best ways to reach them.
One Size Does Not Fit All
Not everybody is your customer. You do not have to be on all social media platforms to be successful in social media marketing. The demographics of your consumer base will determine which platform is best for your company. If they are young you want to stick with Instagram and Snapchat. If they are in their 30s-50s, Facebook is a great resource. If you are B2B, LinkedIn is where you want to be. And not every platform is created equally either. You want to create a particular campaign for each platform.
Standing out in the Sea of Sameness
How well do you differ from other businesses in the same industry? Using a pen as an example, it has blue ink, it’s made of plastic, it’s durable and it’s made in America. Every brand says that and falls into the clutter, which confuses the customer, makes your marketing investment mute and drives zero brand loyalty.
As a business owner, you need to find what makes the pen you manufacture unique. Does it sign million-dollar deals? Does this pen make you a better business person? Does this pen change a life? Using research to find that emotional appeal will allow you to be the solution your audience is searching for. That’s where you can break out of that sea of sameness and create a more valued brand.
Conducting the Proper Research
When it comes to developing a plan to attract new customers, business owners may often fail to realize the treasure trove of information they have within their existing customers. Surveying your best customers – those you want more of – will provide you the answers to all of your marketing questions.
Ask them things like:
- Why did you buy from me?
- Why did you stay with me?
- What attracted you to my business?
- How did my product or service help your business?
- How did it help you personally?
In your survey, you could also find out what social media platforms they are on and what time they are on them. With that information, you could create various messages that will impact people just like them.
If you are just starting out, you may not have that information readily available. That’s when you turn to your local resources such as trade associations, your local chambers of commerce, and the Florida SBDC at USF. All of these organizations can help you find the information you are looking for.
There really is no way to get around it. Creating a plan and doing your research is key to your marketing success. You have to make that emotional connection in order to stand above your competitors. Keep in mind the old adage, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Save yourself the time and money that’s wasted by seeing what sticks. Create a plan of action and do the research.
Florida SBDC at USF
Scott Carpenter joined the Florida SBDC at USF with a marketing communications and public relations career spanning three decades. Working with brands of all sizes – from EAS Nutrition to DeBartolo Development to Biolife – he was a driving force in creating results, growing brand awareness and enhancing reputations across all customer segments. Experienced in leading national B2C and B2B campaigns to increase profit and loss results through small to multi-million budgets, he led campaigns optimized through advertising (print, digital, broadcast), public relations, direct marketing, and other strategies. For his expertise, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) has bestowed upon him the honor of serving as a National Senior Judge for the Silver Anvil Award, the most prestigious communications award in the industry, for 14 consecutive years. In 2019, PRSA named Carpenter to its National Honors & Awards Committee.